Saturday, August 22, 2009
Soldiers fight off Taliban ambush
British troops have revealed how they fought off a Taliban ambush near an Afghan polling station.
They sped to the rescue of Afghan police who came under attack while providing election security south of Gereskh in Helmand Province on Thursday.
The UK forces then escorted ballot boxes from the polling station back to the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, to be counted.
Corporal Pete Swierczek, 34, from Dundee, of the RAF Police, attached to Foxtrot Company of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles, spent two days at an Afghan police checkpoint near a polling station close to the village of Puplazay.
The British troops were called out after an Afghan police patrol was ambushed just over a mile south of their position.
"We got the report through and thrashed out of the check point to assist," said Cpl Swierczek.
"When we arrived we came under enemy fire from two positions, and we returned fire. The reports that we got back were that the Taliban had sustained four major casualties, who were believed to be dead."
The Gurkhas were then called on to take voting papers back to Lashkar Gah for counting.
Cpl Swierczek said: "It was pretty much a case of miscommunication with the Afghan national security forces who were intended to escort the ballot papers back. I think the Afghan National Army had to be back by a certain time and the guys ran out of time."
The Gurkhas have spent their current tour in Afghanistan mentoring the Afghan National Police. Their comrades said the Gurkhas were invaluable because of their close cultural and linguistic links with the Afghans - many of them can converse in Urdu, and they share a love of Bollywood films and dishes involving goat.